This week, LinkedIn announced some big changes related to its higher education offerings. These changes represent a shift from the college decision process to helping soon-to-be-college graduates conquer their job search.
NEW LINKEDIN STUDENTS APP
The first change is the new LinkedIn Students app. This first-of-its-kind app is available on iOS and Android and helps these students discover jobs that are the best fit for graduates with their major. It also guides students to companies that tend to hire from their school and showcases the career paths of recent alumni with similar degrees. Students can also begin building their network by connecting with recommended alumni. The app uses a card-like format that requires the user to swipe through a number of options – recommended roles, companies, articles, suggested alumni, articles and jobs. LinkedIn uses the insights from its database of more than 400 million members to power its recommendations. I can also see how a sponsored ad piece could fit within this card format in the future. Here’s a quick overview.
The Higher Ed Professionals portal has also been updated with new marketing materials on the app.
It’s no surprise that LinkedIn is going after this growing market, as it’s important to get the next generation on board as soon as possible. There are reportedly more than 40 million college students on LinkedIn. This represents the fastest growing demographic on the site. For now, the app is currently only available in the U.S. and some features are better viewed from desktop site (such as full job postings). It will be interesting to see the adoption rate of the app and how it evolves in the future.
LINKEDIN GETTING OUT OF COLLEGE DECISION PROCESS ON MAY 16
The day after the launch of the app, LinkedIn announced that it is shutting down some of their higher education features on May 16, 2016. These features are ones that your admissions office or prospective students may have used before, including the Education hub page, Decision Boards, Field of Study Explorer, University Finder and University Rankings. LinkedIn reports that the rich insights that used to be found in these sections will now be right in the new Students app. LinkedIn has posted more info in the Higher Ed Sunset FAQs.
Less clear is the future of the University Pages. There has been talk that the University Pages will be merged with LinkedIn Company pages by September 2016, but this has not been officially announced yet. Also unclear is what will happen to the recommendations from alums. My take is that this marks a clear shift from the college decision process and trying to capture more high school students to focusing on the soon-to-be-college graduate.
For now, I wouldn’t recommend making any big time investments in working on your university page as more change is on the way. What’s your take?